Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Fromm on Nationalisation

So Northern Rock is to be nationalised, the first major nationalisation in Britain since the 1970s. No doubt a lot of nonsense will now be spouted, indeed is being spouted by the Tories already. But then Tories are well known for spouting nonsense, as are the spin merchants of New Labour. Some on the left should know better though. Perhaps heed should be taken of wise old Erich Fromm, writing back in 1960:

The misinterpretation of socialism as a purely economic movement, and of the nationalization of the means of production as its principal aim, occurred in the right wing and in the left wing of the socialist movement. The reformist leaders of the socialist movement in Europe considered it their primary aim to elevate the economic status of the worker within the capitalist system, and they considered as their most radical measures the nationalization of certain big industries. Only recently have many realized that the nationalization of an enterprise is in itself not the realization of socialism, that to be managed by a publicly appointed bureaucracy is not basically different for the worker than being managed by a privately appointed bureaucracy.

Erich Fromm, Let Man Prevail, New York, 1960.

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At 2:32 am, Blogger Charlie Marks said...

Tis good for the workers, no? Unite can lobby the govt to stop layoffs, lobby the Labour party too. So can we say - better than a private sale, but not as good as workers' control?

At 7:52 am, Blogger greenman said...

I hope you are right mate, but given the state of the unions and the Labour Party....
Nevertheless, as they say, the struggle continues!

At 1:12 am, Blogger Charlie Marks said...

It does indeed...

And by the way, I've always liked the works of Erich Fromm. He's something of a forgotten figure, isn't he? The blogger and journo Neil Clark is a big Fromm fan. Derek Wall is, too.

Fromm's book titles could lead to some confusion... Don't read "The Art of Loving" on the bus.


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